The Antlers: Familiars (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Antlers

Familiars

ANTI-

Jun 16, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands Bookmark and Share


For those of us expecting that The Antlers would continue on the path of their 2012 Undersea EP, a drawn-out batch of psychedelia, Familiars is an unexpected turn. The spacey landscapes have returned, but Familiars is a jazzier expedition in tone and form. There's even room for sleepy guitar solos in "Intruders" and towards the end of "Hotel." Darby Cicci's trumpet has gone from decoration to centerpiece, and Michael Lerner's fine drumming has become looser, allowing more space for the excursions of bass and piano that back Peter Silberman's pristine voice. That voice, The Antlers' calling card, is breathier and a little throatier here, in Silberman's best jazz club invocation. The restraint doesn't always suit him, especially when the songs don't build towards the opportunity for him to let loose.

This is all a far cry from the strangulated spaces and anxious tension of Hospice, the 2009 album that earned the band a larger following and a record label. And while Familiars places a premium on beauty, it doesn't have the illuminating construction of 2011's Burst Apart. The looseness gives Familiars a well-worn feel, and the band is comfortable in their confidence, but it's hard not to miss the agitation of the previous records. While Familiars' six-minute "Director" is a lovely song, and eventually builds to a satisfying climax of sorts, the edginess of Hospice's "Kettering" or Burst Apart's "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" is missing. There was a ferocity to The Antlers' previous records that made one sit up and take notice, a sharpness to the small moments that provided a wonderful counterpoint to Silberman's beautiful and singular vocals and the smoother elements of the often drawn-out song structure.

Familiars has its charms, particularly the excellent "Parade," which opens with the fantastic lines, "Right when the blizzard ends/They throw a fucking huge parade/A great excuse for celebration/Of the mess they've made." The song also provides a rare opportunity on Familiars for Silberman to get indignant, and his vocals truly let loose. This is beautiful music, but after so many nights of losing teeth, it all too often is without them. (www.antlersmusic.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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J08
June 16th 2014
10:03am

Disagree here. This is one of the “surprise” albums of the year for me. I didn’t expect much from it and it is a great change in sound for them and has many gems and beautiful moments throughout! Closer to a 9!